Preakness called 'unofficial launch of summer season' for Md. sports

Lacrosse championship is next big event, state marketing director says

May 21, 2011|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Terry Hasseltine, the director of the Maryland Office of Sports Marketing, said that the Preakness is the "unofficial launch of the summer season" of high profile sports, including next weekend's NCAA men's and women's lacrosse championships as well as the season-ending first-time Grand Prix racing event on the streets of downtown Baltimore. 

"It's huge," Hasseltine said of the Preakness. "It's a way to put the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore on the map, it connects us with the equine industry and the racing industry. It's the second leg of the Triple Crown which is a great identity and gives a great exposure opportunity for a lot of people"

With a projected attendance of over 100,000 and an increase from last year, Hasseltine said that the projected revenue for the area is between $45 million and $50 million dollars.

Hasseltine was clearly rooting for Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who is trained and housed up the road at Fair Hill in Elkton.

"If Animal Kingdom does it, we're all winners," Hasseltine said.

Hasseltine is even enthused about the Orioles, despite Friday night's 17-5 pounding by the Washington Nationals.

"It's not about last night," Hasseltine said. "Right now we're right in the middle of the pack."  

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